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BTCC Snetterton Race Three: Gordon Shedden Maintains Honda’s Claim

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At the end of a day where Honda Racing Team had suffered at the hands of their rivals, Matt Neal losing the drivers' championship lead to Jason Plato after race one, Gordon Shedden restored some pride in race three with a win, while Neal's third helped give the team the lead in both the teams' and manufacturers' titles leaving Snetterton.

The reverse grid had turned a lacklustre race two into a gilt-edged chanced at taking a win, Matt Neal starting from second alongside James Nash, Shedden starting once place further back in third.

But the opportunity Neal had been presented with seemed to disappear with a bad start which not only allowed Nash to jump into the lead but saw Shedden and Rob Collard past before turning into Riches.

Neal re-passed Collard's WSR BMW later on the first lap at the Russell chicane and the race only seemed to get better for the two Honda Civics a corner later when race leader Nash, under very little pressure, ran wide at Riches beginning a wild fishtail that ended with the Triple 8 Vectra slipping into a field on the outside of Sear corner.

James Nash lead the race early but ended in the cornfield.

Collard remained close to the tail of Neal's car throughout the race, the Neal needing the help of his father Steve as 'spotter' to tell him, using TV pictures when Collard was attacking on his left – the inside on the run down to the Esses – as contact had pushed the wing mirror in to the point of uselessness.

The fight between Collard and Neal meant Gordon Shedden could pull out a lead, just over two seconds ahead by the time he weaved in celebration along the pit straight, flashing his headlights as he took the checkered flag for his third win of the season.

Neal had looked as if he would give the Honda Racing Team and Team Dynamics a triumphant one-two, but for a forceful, Neal-esque move by Collard on the final lap. The pair had gone into the Esses nose-to-tail like many laps before but a square, if minimal push from Collard sent Neal sideways on the exit of the second part of the complex. The loss in momentum, while Collard launched his BMW over the raised inner kerb to try and cut inside, saw Neal pushed down to third, though he still gained back some of the points he had lost to Jason Plato, who finished fifth, behind Tom Chilton.

Collard got the better of Neal at the end of the race.

Plato's fifth place gave him six points to add to the 34 plundered from two dominant wins earlier in the day. Plato will take a 20 point advantage into the next round, at Silverstone in a fortnight's time.

Behind Plato in fifth were the Airwaves BMW pair of Steven Kane and Mat Jackson, the latter recovering from an incident with Tom Onslow-Cole earlier in the race when the pair were racing on the edge of the top ten. The accident lost Jackson time, dropping him to eighth initially, while Onslow-Cole who was spun out onto the grass at the Esses, rejoined 17th. Further problems and damage left him the last classified finisher, credited with 16th.

Paul O'Neill fought from the back of the grid – all three cars involved in the opening lap crash in race two making the start of the final race – to claim eighth with rare point scoring runs for David Pinkney and Andy Neate rounding out the top ten.

'Flash' Gordon celebrating a well deserved win

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James is our Diet-Coke fuelled writer and has been with TCF pretty much since day 1, he can be found frequenting twitter at @_JBroomhead
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